Math is Racist

Like I needed another reason to hate math!

The question of “institutional racism” is an interesting one. Are American institutions designed, even inadvertently, to hinder the advancement of minorities? If so, which ones? Colleges? Law enforcement? Businesses? Banking?

Many people claim all of these institutions are racist in their own way. They are not designed to be user-friendly for minorities. If corporations are people, after all, can they not also be racist?

According to a professor of mathematics, even the language of the universe is racist!

Cathy O’Neal is a PhD from Harvard has recently published a book called “Weapons of Math Destruction.” In it, she explains how math is used to target and exploit specific groups of people.

CNN reports: One of the book’s most compelling sections is on “recidivism models.” For years, criminal sentencing was inconsistent and biased against minorities. So some states started using recidivism models to guide sentencing. These take into account things like prior convictions, where you live, drug and alcohol use, previous police encounters, and criminal records of friends and family.
These scores are then used to determine sentencing.
“This is unjust,” O’Neil writes. “Indeed, if a prosecutor attempted to tar a defendant by mentioning his brother’s criminal record or the high crime rate in his neighborhood, a decent defense attorney would roar, ‘Objection, Your Honor!'”
But in this case, the person is unlikely to know the mix of factors that influenced his or her sentencing — and has absolutely no recourse to contest them.

O’Neal’s book also gives other examples. One is how potential employers may ask for a credit report. As they equate a good credit score with trustworthiness, those with poor credit (often poor) will not be hired, continuing the circle of debt and bad credit.

Another example is how police and loan companies will use algorithms based on zip codes to determine how potentially risky one might be.

So there you have it! Math is racist! I’m just happy that I can finally be proud to say that I cannot even do basic algebra without help. I avoid math as much as possible, therefore I’m morally superior!

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that math leads to inequality. After all, there’s quite a bit of grouping and division involved!

http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/06/technology/weapons-of-math-destruction/index.html

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